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Stimulus Covers Construction Costs At Busy Tulsa Intersection

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Stimulus money has crews busy at West 23rd and Southwest Boulevard. City officials say the government help is filling in a gap left by dwindling sales tax. Stimulus money has crews busy at West 23rd and Southwest Boulevard. City officials say the government help is filling in a gap left by dwindling sales tax.
Crews started early Saturday morning on the $2.6 million project. Crews started early Saturday morning on the $2.6 million project.
The major work this weekend should be finished by Monday morning, but the city will continue to work on the area off and on until next October. The major work this weekend should be finished by Monday morning, but the city will continue to work on the area off and on until next October.

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- An often neglected Tulsa intersection is getting a makeover. Stimulus money has crews busy at West 23rd and Southwest Boulevard. 

City officials say the government help is filling in a gap left by dwindling sales tax.

The machinery is primed and the lanes are closed at 23rd and Southwest Boulevard. Crews started early Saturday morning on the $2.6 million project. It includes replacing damaged concrete panels, repairing sidewalks, upgrading traffic signals and installing a new water line.

"There's not going to be a major change to the look of it, but what is going to be taken care of is a lot of the damaged panels due to water line breaks, utility cuts, etc,." said Paul Zachary, Tulsa Public Works.

The stretch of road is one of the city's busiest. Paul Zachary says commuters often use it as a detour to get out of downtown, but it has been several years since it saw work crews. 

The project was originally going to be paid for by a 2005 bond issue, but instead the price tag will be picked up by stimulus money. 

Zachary says the stimulus is welcome because of dwindling sales tax revenue. The city has lost close to $16 million in sales tax revenue this fiscal year.

"Some of the reality of it is with the sales tax coming down, if it weren't for the stimulus money there would be some sales tax projects that would not happen," said Paul Zachary.

Zachary says the bond issue is still available, but the city will finish as many projects as it can using stimulus money before deciding how to use money from the bond. 

The major work this weekend should be finished by Monday morning, but the city will continue to work on the area off and on until next October.

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